You have ideas but do not know how to make it work for you? Let me show you some planning tips that will make your life less stressful.
Previously, I wrote about how I get things done in my life.
It contains general rules I keep in mind on a daily basis.
They allow me to get a lot done within the limited free time I have. And more importantly, without exhausting myself.
Each person is different and each moment in our life may require a different approach to planning.
We have to keep our eyes and mind open for the need of changes and cannot be afraid of jumping in if necessary.
Personally, I prefer to use applications and keep most of my stuff online.
This way I can check all my appointments at any time, anywhere.
When you plan ahead, it becomes crucial to have as much information as possible at hand.
If you need to make changes in your schedule, you don’t have to guess anything. It’s all there and you can (generally) drag them from one day or time to another to have them rearranged.
With that said, I still keep a paper agenda with me for the times I have bad connection and cannot go online.
Things I track
To organize my schedule and make it work for me, I track my:
- appointments (professional and private)
- projects (professional and private)
- goals (professional and private)
Whether it’s a meeting in the office or an appointment with my hairdresser, I write it down.
As a rule of thumb, I keep my professional schedule on the agenda from work, and my private ones, electronically.
Double booking oneself or forgetting a call is not a pleasant experience and it can spoil your day or even your career.
I am always working on something in addition to my hobbies and regular chores.
I love sewing, knitting, reading and taking pictures.
To avoid losing sight of deadlines, I make notes about everything.
Ideas don’t come at predetermined times.
Avoid losing sight of #deadlines by keeping your #planning updated. #coaching Click To Tweet
Wow-moments can hit you when watching TV or when you are stuck in traffic. You do not want to miss them!
All the time and energy you invest in your projects and plans cannot be in vain.
Many times we’re so busy “surviving” we forget the meaning behind our actions and the reason why we started them in the first place.
No matter how much you enjoy the race, remember what you’re expecting to accomplish with your efforts. You must be able to measure your progress.
Set goals for 2, 5 and 10 years from now and record them.
You cannot get anywhere without a destination.
Because of the limited hours of shops and supermarkets here in Belgium, we have a limited window of time to do the groceries. Therefore, I keep close track of all ingredients I need to buy for the week in advance.
If I miss something, I’ll have to change my meal plan and it can damage the balance of diet. If you are an athlete, you surely understand I mean.
Besides, it’s much easier to write items down as you use them than trying to figure things out on a later date.
The only way to improve your physique is by breaking plateaus.
If you are a runner, it means running faster or longer. If you lift weights, you want to go heavier and have more intense sessions.
How can you remember where you were at if you don’t write it down or input it somewhere?
Workouts are investments in your health. Don’t waste them!
After spending more than a year following no-brainer diet plans, suddenly I was confronted with having to put my own meals together while keeping a balanced intake.
Needless to say that it sounded pretty scary to me in the beginning (I’m a can’t cook) and it’s still a challenge to keep my meals varied. However, when I started putting a schedule together, things got much easier.
Choose your favorite #planning tool mindfully for #success. #coaching Click To Tweet
Meal planning is all a matter of getting started, whether you are a nature-born chef or not.
Make it work for you
When it comes to choosing the best systems to use, have your personal preference in mind above any fashion tendency.
At the end of the day, you have to make it work you.
They might be flashy, simple, cheap, expensive, cool, whatever. If you do not feel comfortable using with them, they’ll be a waste effort, time and money.
As I mentioned above, I use both applications as well as paper tools to plan my schedule.
The more centralized your lists are, the better. And that is the main reason why I go online. However, I don’t want to be in the dark if I run out of battery or a server somewhere around the globe goes down.
Tools I have tried
My number one tool is Google(1). I use not only Gmail, but their Calendar and Google docs.
To keep my partner updated of my schedule, we adopted Cozi. Their system is user-friendly, available for both IOS and Android phones and tablets and in addition to a family agenda, they also offer to do and shopping lists as well as a recipe book.
For my workout and meals, I have recently bought BodyMinder. I was still struggling with a method to use for my training and intake journal, but it’s proving to be a great alternative.
These are just examples of some of the tools that I use.
There are other great ones out there for all tastes and preferences.
Things to keep in mind
Before choosing system, the first step is to ask yourself what you need to start with.
If you aren’t accustomed to writing things down, don’t expect you will start tracking everything all at once. It’ll just create unnecessary stress.
Take one step a time.
Pick the aspect you need to improve the most and make it work. Once you break the first planning barrier, the rest will be piece of cake.
Involve other family members.
Kids may work with stickers, for example. Working together will surely make it a fun experience.
How about a vision board? Be creative!
Once you’re into planning, you will see how much more productive you have become.
And if by any means you don’t feel at ease with the way you chose to do things, don’t be afraid to change it.
You’ll only succeed if you use the right system. If you have to do some monetary invest, think of the return of you managing your time more efficiently.
1. I wrote this article in 2014. Since then, I changed my arsenal various times, however, the topic is still relevant. That’s why I made some small changes to the original text and republish it.